Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bible: Holy, Inspired, and Inerrant or Just Another Book?

This post is part 2 of the series. To read part 1, use this link:

There are many hard sayings in the Bible, but does that prove that there are errors in the Bible? Because we read something in the Bible that doesn't fit into our paradigm, does that mean it's not true? Additionally, how can we know if the words written in the Bible were accurately preserved? After all, we can only guess as to when the New Testament was written, and we argue about who the authors are.

Jesus said, "unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves." Afterward, many of his disciples turned from following him (John 6:53-63).

Jesus hard sayings didn't change the fact that he is the Messiah, the Christ. Neither do the hard sayings throughout the Bible change the fact that the Bible is holy, and inspired; the word of God that points us to the Living Word - Jesus, our Savior, Lord, and King.

Jesus thought fulfilling the Scriptures was important for his mission. Why would he be concerned about fulfilling the Scriptures if it was just another "uninspired" book?

Mat. 26:54 "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Scripture references are NASB and the underlined words are my emphasis).

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?"

Mark 14:49 "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.”

Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

John 13:18  I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’

Having a high Christology doesn't lessen the importance of Scripture; it makes it more important.

The apostle Paul believed all Scripture was inspired by God.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Paul referred to the Scriptures when he told the story of Jesus.

1 Cor. 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Paul asks, "What does the Scripture say?" (Romans 4:3; Gal. 4:30), because what the Scripture says is important.

The apostle Peter tells us that some will distort the Scriptures (or lessen its importance, saying it's uninspired).

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his [Paul's] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, [We've probably all been unintentionally guilty of distorting the Scriptures to fit into our own theological framework. Even the best theologians and scholars get it wrong.] as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

One final thought, if we don't believe that God can accurately preserve the Scriptures, how will we trust that God will raise us from the dead?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Ragamuffin Vegetables

My leftover 'ragamuffin' veggies. 

I recently reaped the remainder of my garden's spring harvest.  I grew beets, turnips, lettuce, radicchio, basil, and artichoke. I was a virgin at growing artichoke, and they didn't fare well through the wet and hot summer here in Kentucky. The other vegetables thrived, but a few were certainly not the most stout plants I've seen; however they were still edible.

As I placed some of the leftover vegetables in a bowl to wash them, I thought about when Jesus broke bread for the crowd that was following him. Jesus had been healing people of various diseases, and crowds of people followed him because of the miracles that they had witnessed. After multiplying a couple of pieces of fish, and five loaves of bread enough to feed the crowd, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the LEFTOVER [RAGAMUFFIN] FRAGMENTS so that nothing will be lost" (John 6:12 NASB throughout, last part, my emphasis).

Why was Jesus so concerned about leftover pieces of bread and fish?  The gospel writer John tells us that there were twelve baskets of leftovers - one for each of Jesus' disciples. So maybe Jesus was teaching his disciples to focus on others before themselves. We know that they were at times bickering about who among them was the greatest, and Jesus told them that the greatest is the one who is the servant of all.

But I believe the most important reason is found in what Jesus said. "For the [TRUE] Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives LIFE TO THE WORLD [ragamuffins and all] (John 6:33). "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the LIFE OF THE WORLD" (John 6:39-40, 51).

Heaven and earth is interwoven in the True Bread, Jesus. There are no fragments of bread [ragamuffin pieces] outside of the True Bread.

Yes God loves everyone that might be considered a 'ragamuffin,' a 'loser,' and the 'leftovers' of society.

We're all God's children - that's the reality, despite what we might believe of ourselves, or what others may think of us.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Being A True Friend

Kids sometimes can exhibit irrational behavior. After all, they're children learning to become mature adults. But when a young boy or girl throws tantrums and gets upset easily and often, it can be difficult for the young child to maintain friendships; and he or she can soon be labeled as an outcast. Once an outcast, a feeding frenzy can develop, and the other children can begin to tease the child, and talk negatively about him or her.

When we become adults, our fears and weaknesses don't automatically disappear. Our closest friends are aware of our struggles. Some of our challenges maybe easily observed by others. Sometimes people who know us will talk about our difficulties or differences with others. That can ostracize us and leave us feeling lonely.

While I was out shopping the other day, I was chatting with a cashier that was from Germany.We were talking about friendships. She said to me, "My really good friends I've known for twenty years. They know the good and the bad, and they keep their mouths shut."

On the way home, I stopped to fill up my car with gasoline. While I was pumping gas, two men who were close by were having a conversation. The one guy had his boat on a trailer, and was putting fuel in it. The other man who was nearer to me, on the other side of the gas pumps, asked him, "Have you been out lately?"

"No, I  haven't had the time. I don't want to put anything ahead of church." Then he asked the other man, "Have you seen Jimmy?"

The guy who was across from me pumping gas into his car said, "I can talk to him for a bit. But the guy's juiced up all the time."

"Yep," said the other man, as he was fixing the nozzle of the hose back onto the pump. "I try to stay away from him. I can only take so much of the guy."

Jesus didn't run from people with behavior problems. He embraced them right where they were. In one instance, Jesus crossed the sea to heal an outcast that was living in caves (Mark 5:1-20).

In Christ, we can experience our deepest intimacy - intercourse with the mind, and the spirit. Before Jesus was crucified, he said to his disciples, "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:20 NASB).

In Jesus we see our oneness. We come together to encourage one another, not to destroy each other.

We all need people that believe in us. When we come to love and accept one another in our brokenness, that's when we become true friends.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Living in the Spirit Realm

You say you have problems? You're unemployed. You have relationship problems. You have been diagnosed with cancer. Your loved one passed away...

While driving home from Long Island the other day, I was thinking about some of my friends and family members who have asked me to pray for them because they are facing some seemingly hopeless obstacles in their life. I also started thinking and praying about some of the hurdles that I'm currently facing in my own life.

The apostle Paul wrote that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm above the seemingly hopeless problems of the flesh; above the traumatic circumstances of this world (Col. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:5-6). We don't look up to or at our problems, we walk above them. We look down on them, knowing that from the heavenly realm, they are obscure and infinitesimal compared to the eternal life of love that we have in Christ Jesus. Even though we rest in Jesus (Mat. 11:28-30), we go forward in Him walking (Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:10) not according to the dead man, who is no longer in motion, but according to the Spirit man, who lives, and breathes the abundant fragrances of love. We share in the divine life. We participate in Christ's life (spirit life, spirit man or life in the spirit). Walking is our participation in the Christ life. It is a restful walk, not a fretful walk.

Since we reside in Christ, the supernatural is a natural occurrence. I don't even like to refer to the supernatural as supernatural. I suppose if we are looking at a supernatural occurrence through our natural eyes we will call it supernatural. Yet if we look upon the supernatural in the spirit realm, that is through Christ, as he lives in us, and as he works in and through us, then the supernatural becomes the natural.

Jesus faced many seemingly hopeless circumstances when he walked in person on the face of the earth. In one instance there wasn't enough food to feed the five thousand plus that had gathered to be with Jesus. Philip thought that he needed a lot of money to feed them. But because Jesus lived in the spirit realm, he simply gave thanks, broke the  five loaves of bread and two fish, and the people ate as much as they wanted. They even had leftovers (John 6:1-13; Luke 9:12-17; Mark 6:33-44; Mat. 14:13-21).

In another instance Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1-11). Finally, Jesus showed that death was likened to sleep in the spirit realm, when he raised a man named Lazarus from the dead - even while he was decomposing in his grave (John 11:1-44).

Solution? Christ lives, and we live in him not apart from him! Problems solved. Amen.